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Lorraine’s Lowdown: NEO eyes expansion, fishing derby on the horizon

Lorraine Jewett
Lorraine’s Lowdown

NEO (New Events and Opportunities) has big plans! NEO is the only local organization that offers a place where young people ages 11 to 25 can safely co-mingle, do homework, and learn new skills. Its founders and directors hosted a fundraising luncheon at which they unveiled plans to expand the free drop-in youth center. Organizers point out that youth centers have an economic impact in their communities. Parents are more productive at work knowing their children are happy and safe. Youth Centers also draw young families to an area, providing a valuable workforce …

The Nonprofit Has Grown since it was founded in 2008 by Nevada Union graduates Lynn Skrukrud and Halli Ellis-Edwards. Last year, 660 youths visited the crowded, cramped youth center more than 5,000 times. Noting the need to expand, Lynn says, “Our success has become our challenge.” Clever move, ladies, hosting the luncheon in the rundown warehouse into which the youth center will expand, and proving how much work must be done! Supportive education luminaries included Nevada Joint Union High School District Superintendent Brett McFadden and Human Resource Analyst Lesa St. Germain, retired HS district numbers-cruncher Karen Suenram, NU Assistant Vice Principal Tim Reid, and GV School District Superintendent Eric Fredrickson …

Big Fish, Small Pond? Hundreds of youths will descend on Lions Lake April 13 for the 47th Annual Trout Derby sponsored by the Grass Valley Sportsmen’s Club. Chairman Kevin Morgan explains how it works: Children ages 3-12 fish for up to four hours or until they reach the limit of five fish. They choose their three heaviest fish and vie in three age divisions for first-through-third place prizes of new fishing poles. There are also two competitions for the longest fish. During sign-up, each child receives a free hot dog, soda and a ticket. Throughout the day, the Sportsmen’s Club draws tickets and gives away bait, hooks, tackle boxes and other fishing gear …

Young Anglers have the odds stacked in their favor because the lake is stocked. The Sportsmen’s Club pays $2,500 to a nearby fishery to pour 500 pounds of big, two- to five-pound trophy fish in the lake. Among those fish are 15 that have been tagged, and anglers win cash prizes of $5 to $10 depending on the color of the tag on the fish they reel in. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife stocks the lake with another 2,000 pounds of donated smaller fish. “We have people whose families have participated for generations,” says Kevin, who has chaired the event for 15 years and become somewhat of a celebrity. “People stop me on the street and say, ‘You’re the guy who does the Trout Derby …’”

Williams Stationery celebrates 70 years in business this month. Owner Dave Williams says his business is successful thanks to hard work and loyal customers. An open-house celebration will be held this summer. The business opened its doors in 1949 and sold staples such as magazines, typewriter supplies and social stationery. Dave’s mother Helen worked at the family store until her death at age 92 in 2012. The business has evolved with the times, and now sells everything from paper clips to USB drives …

Dear Friend Vickie Keifer, whose name today would be Vickie Vick if she’d said “yes” to the fabulous eligible bachelor Billy Vick a decade ago, took me on a tour of the couple’s house-under-construction. Billy (SierraTrenchProtection.com) designed and master-minded the home, which will have a ton of storage space, a swimming pool, and a spectacular view of downtown GeeVee. I marveled at the storage space and asked what might possibly fill the area. “Oh, I’m not sure,” mused Vickie. “Perhaps noodles. Pool noodles and chicken noodle …”

Congrats to Hank Weston, honored last week as the Penn Valley Rotary Club’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year. The night’s program included a well-produced video highlighting Hank’s 45 years in Fire Prevention throughout Northern California, plus 12 years as District Four’s Nevada County Supervisor. To Hank’s delight, his three brothers traveled to Penn Valley to fete him. Rumor has it Hank’s loving wife, Kandy, was the mastermind behind that surprise …

Hank’s Awards Dinner also served as a fundraiser for the PV Rotary Club, which racked up $5,000 for local youth programs. Proceeds will support the Rotary Eighth Grade Leadership Program at Ready Springs, Rotary’s Youth Leadership Academy, Penn Valley Little League, and more …

K9 Cops who help us need help for those who help them. Organizers of the annual Paw and Order dinner are looking for volunteers. The Sept. 13 dinner at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center is the Rüdiger Foundation’s only fundraiser, and proceeds support our three local K9 officers. The Paw and Order committee welcomes folks who can help design sets, manage data, gather auction items, and publicize the event. Contact Joey@RudigerFoundation.org

Terry McAteer continues to add class to classrooms. The retired Nevada County Superintendent of Schools has volunteered to take the helm of Bitney Prep, a local charter high school. The high school’s former director left for health reasons, so Terry stepped in to shore up the school’s budget and guide its 102 students to a successful conclusion of the school year. “It’s going to be a fun two months for me!” says Terry. “The school is unique in that it has an internship program that lasts all four years. Students intern with a local business in an area that interests them, then choose a new business the next year, and so on …”

Prolific Poet Larry Lansburgh has self-published his fourth book, a collection of poems entitled “A Man on a Bicycle Shouting at a Fence” (available at Amazon). Some verses are based on his personal experiences and others are a wellspring of his imagination. A few poems were inspired by items in The Union’s forever-quirky Police Blotter and its cast of characters. “The book is entertaining, not ponderous or pretentious,” says Larry. “My aim was never to poke fun at people with serious problems, but rather to try to guess what’s going on behind their actions …”

More Poetry. Will Staple will read his poetry at the April 10 free, public meeting of Sierra Writers (SierraWritersNevadaCounty.com). Will is a celebrated North San Juan resident and “California Poets in the Schools” teacher who grew up in Oakland in the shadow of “The Beats,” the generation of poets who rebelled against mainstream American life. More than 300 of Will’s poems have been published …

Sage Advice from Winnie the Pooh: “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something…”

Send your best of anything to LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

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